*Copy of Tempus via GMTA Publishing in exchange for an honest review
When GMTA Publishing first reached out to me, Tempus was the very first book that caught my eye in their website. So when they asked if I wanted to review the book, I was like, Yes!. The synopsis grabbed me because of the paranormal element in it, and I love my fantasy/magic/supernatural element in books, but Tempus surprised me in more ways than one, and I found myself really liking it until the very end. Holly Lauren/GMTA Publishing, please produce a sequel or a series for this book!
The character of Chapel Ryan confused me at times: she was a cheerleader and beautiful and popular, but she set herself apart from the usual cliche by not dating the 'jock' and by being friends with one of the school's biggest math nerds. And while I cannot relate to her character, I liked her personality. I liked that she was off-beat, and not so into her popularity. I suppose thinking you're crazy can do that to you. One of the things about Tempus that surprised me is that 1) They're Catholics (although I didn't get a hint of them practicing the religion) and 2) She's a virgin at eighteen. I know YA has themes of coming-of-age events, exploring sexuality and love, but I like that this book didn't concentrate on the passion between the two lead characters. I loved that she was strong, and able to banter with the other characters, but not too strong that she didn't know when to stop being stubborn.
Isaiah 'Zay' Halstead is one of those smoldering reformed bad boys so popular in YA nowadays. While I was never into their kind, I definitely get their appeal, and Zay has it in spades. I suppose these reformed bad boys are budding alpha males for future romance stories. They know what they want, and they go for it. In this case, despite all the confusion that Zay was dealing with personally, he still pursued Chapel. I loved how he put her needs and wants first, and that he respected her. I love that he didn't push her for his 'needs' or desire, although the physical attraction between them was there. I also love that even though Zay was very strong and had a temper, he never hurt Chapel and he never hurt anyone unnecessarily.
The secondary characters were also amusing and interesting. I loved the banter between Chapel's bestfriends, Timmy Valentine and Erica Monroe. I also want to know more about Valerie Ryan/Taylor (Chapel's mom) because I think there's more to her than meets the eye, and more to her second marriage than what was first presented.
There were times when I felt the story was too slow. I was halfway through the book and Chapel's 'hallucinations' remained unexplained. The first half was too much about the romance between Chapel and Zay. But as I realized later, it was a good way to establish the feelings between Chapel and Zay. I hate insta-love after all. After the first half, the abilities of Chapel is finally discussed, and that's the moment I finally fell in love with Tempus. I love the numerous twists in the story; although I hate the proliferation of men in her life, because her life felt too complicated already without the addition of having so many guys trying to date her.
Aside from the feeling at the start that the story was taking too long to get to the paranormal part, which was what I was looking forward to the most, I didn't like the unanswered questions about Todd Taylor, and why he was so weird around Chapel. Rush, Zay's best bud, also mentioned that Todd is weird, and yet Chapel never asks him about it. Logan, Chapel's ex, was brought into focus, and then just started dating someone else after trying to get back with Chapel. Also, there was the question about how her biological father became that rich, and why her mother was never able to touch a cent of it even when they seemed to need it, and this was not explored further.
The story ends with several cliffhangers that I hope will be answered by a sequel! I think Tempus ends in such a way that not having the story finished would be such a waste. I wanted to read Tempus more because of the fantasy element than the romance, but in the end, I loved how both played out. My favorite line in the story is this: "Ryan, something tells me that when it comes to a girl like you, even if I lose, I win." Gaaah swoon!
And because GMTA Publishing is just pure awesome, I have 20 ebook copies of Tempus to give away, open internationally, for participants thirteen years and older. I will contact the winners 48 hours after the contest ends.
There is also a soundtrack to get you in the mood while reading Tempus. The songs are pretty awesome.
Normally, I don't read queen bee-type of plots because I cannot relate to them. I wasn't a queen bee, and even though I was different from the popular...moreNormally, I don't read queen bee-type of plots because I cannot relate to them. I wasn't a queen bee, and even though I was different from the popular kids, I wasn't bullied because of that (but because of a heartthrob ex). But Pwned attracted me because I love to play games. I'm not an online gamer like Reagan is, but I can definitely relate to that nerdy feeling while outwardly looking cool. I was awarded the bookworm of the year award thrice in thirteen years in school, which I guess established me as being a reader. However, I guess it's just different in the Philippines, where you're not uncool if you're a bookworm or a gamer.
I admit that Reagan West is the type of girl I hate. She's a bitchy cheerleader, she's passive aggressive, and she doesn't hold herself accountable to her actions. I've also had a few run-ins with this type of bullies, some were cheerleaders, some were just snotty stuck-up prats, but I've managed to hold my ground and look them in the eye because I didn't do anything wrong to them. I almost stopped reading Pwned because up until beyond the middle of the story, she was still the same and I thought beyond redemption. Thank goodness that changed, and she became a likable and better person in the end.
One of the reasons why I didn't stop reading Pwned though is because I remembered high school all too well, and the immaturity that came along with it. I remembered the confusion, and the hesitancy to become who you want to be for fear of ridicule. I remembered the uncertainty of claiming an identity, of knowing who you are and what kind of person you want to be. So I kept on reading, and I finished Pwned with a smile on my face. Honestly, there are just some books that you have to forget to be an adult and let the memories and the silliness wash all over you again as you live vicariously through the characters. Ahhh. The pleasure of reading.
Am I the only one who felt that I was looking through the eyes of Gretchen Wieners from Mean Girls? There were several pop references to it, such as with the 'plastics', the 'mean girl' statements. I felt like in Mean Girls, if Cady didn't go to their school, Gretchen would totally have flipped on Regina George like Reagan West did. Even if the author maybe did not mean for that to happen, that was the vibe I got, and I loved it.
Parker, the love interest, has got me intrigued mostly because I love nerds. They're fun to talk to because they're so passionate about the things they geek out on. And after a particularly stressful relationship with someone who didn't know squat about anything, intelligence has become one of my 'musts' in a guy. Parker has definitely got my heart!
If you're looking for a breezy YA read that's not too dramatic, with a quirky take on queen bees and cheerleaders, give Pwned a try.
When I first heard about the Luna East Arts Academy anthology, I was super excited. I felt like it was a Sweet Valley book all over again--but this ti...moreWhen I first heard about the Luna East Arts Academy anthology, I was super excited. I felt like it was a Sweet Valley book all over again--but this time, taking place in the Philippines AND each story is written by a Filipino. I thought maybe I could relate to the stories more. Also, maybe I wouldn't feel so envious that I wasn't, you know, blonde, blue-eyed, and can eat anything and still maintain that sun-kissed slim bod that the Wakefield twins flaunt in our fatty faces.
Well, I was right...and I was wrong. I was right because I didn't feel so envious because the characters are people you might recognize in your school. I was wrong because I felt envious that these are experiences I wish my high school had! And oh, I wish Luna East Arts Academy was real.
My high school was pretty ordinary, so I was envious at the numerous activities offered in Luna East. We didn't have a swim team (much less a swimming pool), we didn't have a football team, and we were so not allowed to have a kissing booth. Darn. Plus, I went to an all girls' school, and now that I've read this compilation, I definitely feel like I missed out on 'em boys interesting experiences.
The stories compiled in this anthology are pretty much what you experience in (other) schools, though, and I was able to relate to some them. You might find yourself in any of these stories--from the one who never felt enough even though she keeps trying her best, to the one who had to diet everyday, to the one whose heart was broken by that jerk who never cared, to the one whose life has been thrown off track by a vicious gossip, to the one whose life turned a little better because of a boy, or a girl.
With the different voices of each author, I felt like I was really reading the stories of the Luna East students themselves. In an anthology with these many shorts combined, I think it's impossible not to have a favorite one or five. These are the ones that made me excited, or got me laughing, or left me smiling long after I closed the book. I have to give extra props to Mina Esguerra because I think the stories she chose to be the first and the last were very apt.
Kids These Days starts off with Sitting in a Tree. I think it sets the tone and lets the reader know that you can expect a lot of feelings, maybe even mucho kilig, depending on the story you can relate to. This one, I can't relate to, but I truly wished we had that in high school. Excellent writing by Chrissie Peria.
This is followed by Fifty-Two Weeks by Mina V. Esguerra. Amazing. In what, less than five pages, she's got me agonizing for more of that sexy banter. It was so hot, I totally forgot that these kids were still in high school. Man, I really missed out on a lot, huh? This makes me think that if I have a child, co-ed all the way for him/her!
I liked Picture Me Naked by D. R. Lee because, well, the girl was adorably cheek. And I'm not saying I've done the same thing, but, well, let's just say I had a few chuckles over that one. The banter was good--no sudden proclamations of love, but the inkling of something more, something that could maybe happen, and I'm happy she left it at that.
Senpai's #1 Fan by Anne Plaza is a little different from the other stories. The male crush interest is different from the others because it's a high school guy who cosplays and has this secret tender side. But of course, there's that issue of being cool and keeping these adorable side of him hidden. The story ends abruptly, but it reminded me instead of that guy you liked so much but you know you'll never have him anyway so you're already satisfied with all these kilig encounters. Or maybe that's just me. I had too many crushes in college.
Be Creative by Stella Torres sets itself apart from the other thirteen stories in that it's not romance. Oh, there's love, but it's more familial than anything else. I think the mother-father resolution was a little sudden but it still made me feel good in the end. I appreciate that someone wrote a story for the anthology that didn't revolve about the budding crush/friend/nemesis-turned-boyfriend story that populated the anthology for the most part.
I also have to give props to Yours is The First Face I Saw by Ron Lim and The Letter by M. Protacio-De Guzman for their inclusion of gay (or am I gay) stories because I think gays need to know they are not alone in their confusion, and the inclusion of these stories in literature is important. But aside from being one of the few gay-themed stories in Philippine pop lit, I think these two stories depicted the most about the confusion and inner battle of identity that high school students/teenagers go through, which the other tales did not fully convey. Lastly, I give props to Miles Tan for breaking my heart with Something Real. That was good.
There were times I totally forgot these were high school kids. I know kids can be really catty and mean (the things I went through in high school put all these stories to shame) but some were very adult, and reminded me of my college classmates instead. Furthermore, I went to a college who had scholarship kids who worked in various offices around campus, so instead of remembering my high school life, I remembered my campus, classes, and 'em heartbreaking boys all over again. But instead of feeling morose by all the memories, I actually laughed.
I also liked that the lives of the characters were somehow interrelated, and that the activities depicted in the stories made the Luna East Arts Academy School come alive. I think that's the trick, you know? The whole school felt real. The characters were alive in my mind, and the stories were not too outlandish that I think a lot of teens, especially in high school, will enjoy the stories and might even go, "Hey, that's me!"(less)